Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy repeatedly said before and during OSU's spring football session that his goal was to name a starting quarterback heading into the offseason. The timing was pushed back a couple of times, with Gundy and offensive coordinator Todd Monken met Wednesday on the heels of the Cowboys public spring finale. That a decision was made was no surprise.
That the pair opted to go with true freshman Wes Lunt was perhaps a mild surprise.
"We had to make a decision based on what we thought was best for our offense to score points and then give us the best chance to win football games," Gundy said. "All three players had good springs, but at some point, the decision is made on the field. There's always a comment about who coaches are going to name as the starter at any position, but the coaches usually don't make that decision - the decision is made by the players. Wes performed better than the other two quarterbacks in the spring."
Gundy had previously noted that Lunt had continuously improved from the first day of spring ball. It was that improvement, as well as Lunt's ability as a passer that kept him in the race with more experienced quarterbacks Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh.
"I'm overwhelmed. It's such a humbling experience," Lunt said. "Coming in early, I knew I had a chance to compete for the job and to get it is just overwhelming. I know that we're still going to compete through summer and two-a-days, so it's not over."
Lunt was informed of the decision on Thursday morning in a meeting with Monken.
Lunt was rated as a four-star prospect by rivals.com out of Rochester, Illinois. In a senior season shortened by an early-season injury, Lunt passed for 3,650 yards with 31 touchdowns against only four interceptions after returning. He made the final decision to leave high school early and enroll at Oklahoma State just days before the spring semester started in Stillwater.
Through spring practices, it was clear that Lunt was the best equipped to run the OSU offense of the last two seasons. What was not clear was whether the coaching staff would tweak the offense to build around Walsh's running ability. In the end, Gundy and co. stuck with their philosophy.
"We like our system," Gundy said. "We like the ability to play fast. We like the ability to throw the ball down the field effectively but also run the football. Wes gives us the best opportunity to stay consistent with our style of play."
Of the three candidates, Lunt was the most similar to outgoing quarterback Brandon Weeden, in terms of stature and throwing abilities. Lunt joked Thursday that he's like Weeden in another way.
"I'm a drop-back passer a lot like Brandon Weeden," he said. "I'm not going to kill you with my legs. I'm a passer."